I was diagnosed with stomach ulcers (no scope) by my GP and given something to block acid. It didn’t help at all, and neither did anything I got from the health food store. So I did some digging online and found out about fermented food, in particular, fermented cabbage juice. I proceeded to make a drink using salt, water, and a quarter of a cabbage with filtered water in liter jars. I made four at a time and drank an entire liter each day. I let it ferment to the “sparkling” stage (like kombucha). The pain went away almost immediately, but I kept drinking just in case (it’s oddly addictive once you get used to it!) for an entire month. By then I felt completely fine. During that time, I started learning about fermented food here and with other books, and making all kinds of things which I ate regularly. About six months later, I had some tests done, including tests on my stomach bacteria and the doctor told me that I had some of the best gut flora she’d ever seen. That was three years ago. I never have canker sores (which can be cured overnight by swishing sauerkraut juice around in your mouth) anymore, I haven’t had a yeast infection since I started eating ferments, and the ulcers are history.
About six months ago, I was playing with my granddaughter and noticed that I couldn’t concentrate on her because I was vaguely nauseous. I just assumed it was something I ate and ignored it. As the days went by though, this nausea continued, as well as other digestive symptoms such as terrible gas pain, cramping and constipation. I went to the doctor and began a series of tests, imaging and scopes to wind up with a diagnosis of H. Pylori, a stomach bacteria that I had never heard of. Although most people have this bacteria present in small amounts, mine had gotten out of balance and caused acute gastritis and a low level reflux. After one series of terrible antibiotics and other medications, I still tested positive. I was miserable, both mentally and physically, had lost alot of weight and even started sessions with a therapist. When I decided to do a second round of even harder antibiotics, I stumbled across your website and began to read about the benefits of fermented foods. Although I feel like I am well read on health issues, I had never really considered the impact that the gut biome can have on overall health! So this time instead of probiotic capsules, I decided to try fermented foods. I ordered your easy kefir packets, jars, veggie starter, and one of your books and got busy! I drank 1-2 cups of kefir a day, always in a green smoothie with your Prebio added, I made apple kraut and ate it daily and drank the juice! I decided to drink GT kombucha for now as I didn’t want to take on too much at once. I am now 8 weeks past my last antibiotic regimen and just tested negative! My appetite is returning, and it feels like my brain is lighting up again, along with a zest for living! I cannot thank you enough for all the information you provide. I am sharing this with everyone I know, and will keep eating and drinking these awesome fermented foods the rest of my life!
I am a mother of four and our oldest has profound cerebral palsy. At about 4 years old he required a g-tube as he could not swallow his food without it going to his lungs. He has been on formula since then but just in the past 5 years our family started on cultured foods. We did not know at first how to give him cultured foods without clogging his g-tube. But when we found out his new formula contained inulin, we knew that was a prebiotic and started giving him kefir WHEY. The whey is thinner than even the g-tube formula and still has probiotics in it that feed on the inulin. The kefir whey also helps with his g.i. tract as he has had constipation from being immobile. We give him kombucha which helps with detoxing. We also have given him the liquid in our cultured garlic (strained of anything that would clog the tube-just liquid) whenever there is a VIRUS or cold etc. He has NOT been sick with a virus in a very long time! When Covid started we were concerned because he was high risk. We have not seen any sign of Covid-19. We still use common sense and wash hands etc. of course, but the trilogy has helped him thrive~ 🙂
Hi Donna, two years ago I almost lost my life to heavy metal toxicity. I had served in the US military for 9 years and over the course of these years my body had reached it’s maximum toxic capacity. Between several deployments, the 27+ vaccinations required by my job, 7 amalgam fillings, many rounds of antibiotics and a severely permeated gut, my body began shutting down in August 2018. I suffered heavy metal toxicity, kidney stones, gallbladder/liver stones, periodontitis, night-shade/gluten/dairy allergies, chronic fatigue, anxiety/depression, muscle/weight loss, vitamin deficiency, hair loss, SIBO, parasites, chronic pink eye, severe joint pain, pneumonia and symptoms of MS just to name a few. Doctors did not know what was wrong with me or why my immune system was so weak. Did I mention I was only 36 at the time?
I came across your book, Cultured Food in a Jar, and decided to jump in with both feet. I was desperate. I had tried every cleanse, diet and supplement I could find and while I felt slightly better at times, I still didn’t feel well. I ordered everything from your website (kefir/sourdough/kombucha/cultured vegetables starters). I also ordered your prebiotic powder and went and found Teccino tea. I was so excited the day everything showed up. My husband and I ate as much fermented food as a we could with every meal and in between meals. It all tasted so good and I craved it all the time. I didn’t realize how devoid my body was of pro/prebiotic foods or the amount of heavy metals that my body had stored in an attempt to protect me. Over the course of 2 months, each day a symptom would lessen or disappear, and my energy began to come back. Feeling so much better in 2 months was a miracle to me after being sick for almost 2 years. Fermented foods are hands down the way to go, but the biggest difference I noticed was when I did a rectal kefir implant (I used coconut kefir, which also helped heal my Candida). There is research supporting the use of kefir grain implants (this would be an awesome podcast topic!!!) This is what truly healed my gut the quickest. I used about 2-3 Tablespoons, 1-2 times per day. After 2 days, all symptoms were COMPLETELY gone, not to mention the sense of true peace I felt in my heart….finally! My husband even does them with me and has seen remarkable results. We will forever continue to use fermented foods. Thank you Donna, for being such a brave pioneer and leading the way for so many others to follow. God bless you! May and your gut bugs be filled with happiness, peace, love, joy and success!
I’m a professional dog breeder and an AKC Breeder Of Merit. I love my fur babies like they are my children. I feed the raw diet including home fermented kefir. I had a puppy with fading puppy syndrome. I knew based on past experience that this puppy wouldn’t make it through the night. He couldn’t hold down his formula that I tube fed, was lethargic and had severe diarrhea. I gave him sub q fluids for hydration. I had no idea if kefir would help him but I knew we had to try. I fed him a couple of tablespoons and he held it down! I did this every few hours. The next morning he was up and looking to go potty (the day before he couldn’t get up at all). I continued the kefir for 2 days along with the coccidia medicine to treat his illness. I tell you truthfully that I believe the kefir gave him just enough protein, enzymes and healthy bacteria to keep him alive while the medicine kicked in.
BTW… I found you because my daughter has the Epstein Barr virus. I wanted to know if anybody cured themselves with kefir. I’ve been on kefir for 2 years but never got the teens to drink it. I Googled kefir and Epstein Barr and found a testimonial that referenced you. I made my daughter read the article. After 3 months of CHRONIC fevers every day, she was well in one week post kefir. Amen and amen!!! God bless you, Donna!!! Keep up the good work!
At 12 years old I was diagnosed with a goiter. I experienced many issues due to my thyroid. Finally, at 28 I broke out in hives from head to toe and went to every doctor possible to try to find out what was wrong. I finally found out I have Hashimotos and these hives are common among Hashi patients. For sixteen years I have taken multiple antihistamines daily to keep these hives at bay. My friend gifted me some of Donna’s kefir grains and reluctantly I started using them. My hives are gone. I can’t believe that after a few short days I do not need to take antihistamines. I feel great and I look forward to how kefir will continue to heal me. I can’t believe after all the things I’ve tried this is what has helped me! Thank you, Donna, Thank you!
I was faithful for two years with consuming fermented foods. I felt great. I lost 30lbs had more energy and no colds for those 2 years. Then my daughter last November had her baby 3 months early. I was traveling almost every weekend for almost 2 hours to the hospital. So I started eating whatever. Quit consuming my fermented foods and such. Now a year later I have gained almost 15 lbs back, no energy, heartburn and yeast infection. I had a stomach bug 3 weeks ago and then caught a cold. As soon as I got the cold I started drinking Kefir and Kombucha and started eating Yogurt. In just 2 weeks time I can tell a huge difference. No heartburn, cold was minor and yeast infection is clearing. The stuff you say is no joke. I will not stray again for any reason. This is a way of life…
In 2012 after a high-stress year, we finally made our dream of moving to Colorado a reality. I could not understand why I couldn’t feel complete joy, why my stomach always hurt, or why my energy was always down.
In 2013 I was diagnosed with an H-pylori infection and subsequent stomach ulcers. After a month of antibiotic treatment, the H-pylori infection was finally under control, but I had lost 20 pounds and was weak, depressed, and ached in every joint possible. My dream of hiking in the mountains was only in my mind, I could barely get out of bed. I could no longer digest healthy foods and high oxalate foods caused my thyroid to deplete. My hair started falling out, I was always cold, my hands were purplish-blue, and I could barely make it through the day without having to sit and rest or nap. All this while homeschooling my young children and wanting to live the active Colorado life that I had visualized for many years.
Thankfully, my prayers were answered when I found you, Donna. I knew that my gut needed a whole new experience after being attacked by several rounds of antibiotics. I bought your kefir grains, kombucha SCOBY, and culture packets and got started on the trilogy in 2013. It took a year to gain back my lost muscle and lost hair or be able to digest healthy food again, but what an incredible year of learning and growing. Since starting the trilogy, I feel like I’ve aged backward (and according to others, I look younger too).
My gratitude for the awareness of gut health and how to heal from the inside out can not be adequately expressed. No doubt this was a Divine intervention to stop my reliance on doctors and antibiotics for every throat, sinus, and upper respiratory infection that came along.
Myself, my husband, and my two children used to get these types of infections two, three, or four times per year and we always were treated with antibiotics. Since starting the trilogy, none of us have had to see the doctor or get on any type of medication. Seven years with no sick appointments! We’ve had colds here and there, but we heal on our own using the trilogy, rest, and gratitude. Donna, you are an incredible teacher and messenger for true health and my family and I appreciate your work more than you know. Thank you for making this information and these healing foods available for everyone. Biggest Blessings.
I was prescribed an antibiotic after having dental implant surgery. Looking at my prescription label, it stated “take with probiotics”. 10 weeks ago, I never heard of probiotics. I started my research due to the fact that for 30 years, after any major dental work, I would always get a viral infection or some sickness uncommon to me. It has been 10 weeks and I am all in, never felt better, and have learned so much from your 18 years of research.
Thank you for all your work. Many other sites may tell how to make these various fermented cultures but you explain in great detail, with references, the reasons fermented foods are a life changer. We still have 5 children living at home and it has become our daily routine and we love it.
Thanks again, Donna and family.
I have only been using kefir for about 3 months, but it has caused a miracle in my life! At the age of five, I had a bout of head-to-toe shingles. It’s a mystery as to why maybe a vaccine? Anyway all of my life I’ve had shingles and it’s gotten worse as I’ve aged. I have outbreaks any time I’m under the least bit of stress. Even right before a family gathering! I’m now 60 years old, so it’s been 55 years of shingles. Recent events would have normally put me right over the edge: my dad was hospitalized, then put in a nursing home, drama with my stepmom, my dog died, my car broke down and stranded me, my dad’s dementia worsened, he became unresponsive and then God mercifully took him home. During all of that stress and drama, not one outbreak! I am so thankful to you Donna and thankful to the good Lord for leading me to want to try kefir. If it’s not manna, it should be!
Our Shining Star of the Desert! Dear Donna, I thank God for you and your valuable information EVERY day! Our miniature poodle, Star, developed health issues in mid-January this year (2019). She quit eating and drinking totally. I went to the vet, and with blood tests found out her red & white blood cell counts were dangerously low. The vet prescribed Prednisone 2/day. The vet diagnosed her with bone marrow cancer. When we got back home, I immediately started giving her kefir. 1tsp twice a day with a syringe. After about 5 days, I also started feeding her 1T homemade sauerkraut & 1T kraut juice blended up with some cooked chicken (twice p/day). After 3 weeks we returned for another blood test. The numbers were improving, but still not in the normal range. I told the vet what I was doing, but she refused to believe that that was helping. She reduced the Prednisone dose to 3/4 pill twice/day. 3 more weeks passed & Star was putting on a lot of weight. This was due to the drugs making her eat & drink more than normal. This test showed her numbers approaching normal! The pills were reduced to 1/2 pill twice/day and then 1/4 twice/day. Today, 4-2-2019, was another blood test. Star’s numbers were into the normal range!!! Sooooo Happy! I thank God for answering my prayers, and sending you to me! I purchased your book, Cultured Food in a Jar late last year. Thank you, Donna, you’re an angel! We now have our Super Star back! She is beginning to lose weight, as we go for a walk 2 times a day, and she is happy again! (She’s so cute–she skips when we take our walks!) I will forever keep feeding her the kefir, and sauerkraut, and I’ve also added some kombucha SCOBY at noontime. (chewed up in a blender & mixed with some dog food). Thank you, again, Donna and may God bless you for all you do. Love, Jan
This is a story I never really thought I’d share outside of my family and friends. But I’ve decided to change that because it’s something that needs to be told because you never know who needs to hear it or who’s going through the same problems. Despite my former reservations, today seems like the right time to speak my testimony. It’s kind of long but it’s all relevant, I promise. My story begins about 5 years ago. I just finished working in the entertainment department for a cruise line, but wanted to get into the production group for singing and dancing. So, I started auditioning a lot, going back and forth from home to different states. During all of that, I got a job working as a concierge to earn money to pay bills and go to these auditions. It was pretty tiring but I was determined to make it happen. For a couple of months, I started getting used to the routine with my new job and the travel to the auditions, but what I didn’t know was the wear and tear it was causing me. It was becoming increasingly stressful and the signs started showing up in the form of swelling and aching in different parts of my joints. I also started gaining weight weirdly even though I was always exercising and moving. It started to concern me a little but not enough to think it was anything truly serious. That was until my body MADE me become concerned. Three months into the job and auditions, my symptoms got worse. My hands were swelling to the point where I couldn’t move them. The same for my knees and ankles. One night, my mom and dad had to come and get me from my job and my dad even had to carry me up the stairs to my room because my knees and feet were so swollen. My doctor’s initial diagnosis was an infection and gave me steroids to combat the symptoms. The swelling went down after a few days but it was also about that time when I thought maybe I was taking on too much. So, I decided to slow down with the auditions and change to a less demanding job. It wasn’t until a week later, that all these symptoms were a culmination of a bigger problem. On the morning of August 30, 2014, after attending a concert the night before with my best friend, I woke up and couldn’t move…at all. I was completely swollen, and I could just barely stand. Luckily, my friend was still there and was able to drop me off to the hospital. They kept me overnight for observation and testing. It wasn’t until 4 days later, I was diagnosed with systemic lupus eurythematosis (SLE). Approximately 3 days later, I was released from the hospital and given medical prescriptions to try and combat the growing symptoms and recommendations of specialists to help with further evaluation of the illness. Not really know how serious my case was, I conducted research in the disease prior to my first appointment with my nephrologist. More testing occurred and I was placed in the hospital again for more testing and trials. My illness had progressed to farther than they’d realized (it was SLE class 4/5). If the doctors hadn’t have found the correct dosages of meds to combat the symptoms, the next step would’ve been chemotherapy. I was able to go home two weeks later with a new diet, half a grocery bag worth of pills and a new outlook on my lifestyle changes. I’ll tell ya it wasn’t a very positive one, but I was determined to get through this because my family and friends were counting on me. So after four months (January 2015) of taking medication and adhering to a lifestyle change, the doctors stated that my illness had gone into remission. Throughout all of this, still didn’t feel quite like myself. I felt I was forever in a fog, my body wasn’t the same due to the weight gain and taking a very high dosage steroids, and it led to depression. For someone who’s been active all her life, to not be able to breathe or move like I use to and to still be so young, made me so angry, frustrated and sad. There had to be another way, a better way to feel. A year later, I switched careers and went into massage therapy. I still kept the singing and dancing dream alive because this field happened to call to me. It opened my eyes up to a new alternative way of thinking and looking at healthcare.This also helped me redevelop my fine motor skills due to my suffering of muscular atrophy. This helped me to realize a new gift as a healer. I looked into more things about massage even after finishing school and getting into the field. I just felt the need to do more and more research about how there is more to healthcare than people realize. I wouldn’t get to the bottom of my problem until a few years later, and stumbling upon the most valuable information I’ve ever read. I just moved to Georgia a year ago and was determined to take control of my life more. So, I began to wean myself off of my meds. It’s not something I recommend everyone to do and not without the advisement of one’s physician either. I was already in the process of being weaned off my meds but I decided to take one step further. I had been doing more research into autoimmune disease and gut health and really diving into what would be the one thing that made a significant change for my illness. I came across a couple of YouTube videos, one of them being yours Donna, on how bacteria really are a core subject to how your body functions. So I began buying and consuming kefir, but it wasn’t until I started making my own that I saw a REAL change in moods, my body and just how I functioned in general. I started going to local farms to buy raw milk, veggies and kefir grains to start my own fermentation corner in the house. With the instructions from your website and your videos to include others regarding different recipes, I fell in love with eating and making fermented foods. If I miss a day of my new eating regiment, I feel the difference. By adding this to my diet and other lifestyle changes, have led me to a point where it’s possible to reduce certain medications, otherwise, I felt foggy. Six months into my fermentation journey, I received a call from my doctor stating that the latest lab test results were normalized to a point where there was little to no trace of my illness. Now granted, an autoimmune disease can come back depending on the body and the triggers that can cause it (and mine was severe stress and poor nutrition), but to hear those words felt like a miracle in my mind. I bawled as more and more of my results came back positive. My family was equally excited about this good news as well. This heavy weight was just lifted off my shoulders and gave me hope to do continue to do more for myself and for others on the benefits of fermented foods in their lifestyle. So, now here I am writing this on my 30th birthday. It is a milestone birthday, and 5 years ago I never thought I would make it to this point. I wanted to share this with you and your readers/listeners to let them know that you helped me significantly in this process. You were, as you like to say, my lighthouse that helped guide me towards this part of my journey that made a big change in my life. I thank you for being the wonderful person you are and for you to continue your mission to be a guide to those who are in need of this vital information. To you and your family, stay blessed.
Hello, My story starts about 55 years ago and it has to do with cancer and probiotics! Let me start about two years ago, though, when I first got interested in Kefir. I was keeping the Kefir culture going and using it about once a week at that time.
Then two months ago, I was having trouble with my urinary tract. I decided to go back to my natural soap to balance out my bacteria (harsh soaps were killing it) and up my kefir intake to twice a day. Yes! It worked and no more symptoms!
I revisited your site again after not doing so for a couple of years and decided to listen to some of the podcasts in our kitchen where my husband could hear them. Stosh, being a good cook, was intrigued and said he was going to make his own and make it “right”! Well, we both got hooked and we are enjoying cultured vegetables, kefir, kefir cheese, and our first kombucha will be ready in a day or two. We are in our mid-sixties and our energy is up in only two weeks and we are sleeping like babies.
Now back to about 55 years ago! When I was 10 I was diagnosed with cancer. My mother was told I had about 4 months to live! Poor Mom would go into my bedroom in the morning to see if I was still alive.
Radiation treatments, which the doctors advised, were fairly new then and Mom decided they were too dangerous. She sought out natural treatments. I was treated by Dr. Max Gerson (his daughter continues his work today, Gerson.org). Also, I was given a new herbal formula (by Dr. McQueen-Williams) that was at the time, just tested on animals and successful but they want a person to test it on. (That was me). Also, I was given two quarts a day of what was then called “Moldin”. Mom was taught by Dr. Minninberg from Russia how to make a drink from bread and water that was fermented.
Well, the lights went on when I was hearing how your Chris and others have been helped and cured with the addition of cultured drinks like kombucha. I, too, was on cultured foods back in the early 60’s. My doctors who gave up on me were astounded at the time! My case was taken before the US Congress in 1974 when then-President Nixon asked that cancer be eradicated and instituted the “National Cancer Attack Act”. Unfortunately, nothing good came from that Act. My guess is that drug companies were less than thrilled. Mom even went up before the AMA (American Medical Association) in court siting my case, but that went nowhere.
But thank you, Donna, for spreading the word!! I’m doing the same and perhaps many more lives will be improved to good health or even saved!
(This is me a year ago.)
All My Best for Peace and Good Health!!
I have been ill for 30 years. Terrible fatigue, brain fog, food allergies, chemical sensitivities. I had been to many, many practitioners, mostly natural. The only thing that helped was homeopathy, which controlled my symptoms to a degree. Almost a year ago I started kefir and listening to Donna’s podcasts, and read two of her books, and then a couple of months later started making sauerkraut. At the age of 70, I wasn’t expecting much. But amazingly, my brain fog and depression were gone, my memory got better, I no longer needed the homeopathy, my blood sugar improved (I used to get ravenous between meals), my sleep got way better – instead of insomnia most nights, now I sleep through the night most nights, my dry rough skin became soft and moist, I went from feeling anxious and in emotional turmoil much of the time to feeling balanced and stable and much calmer, I no longer urgently need to urinate in the middle of the night. I still am pretty low energy and have chemical sensitivities. In the past month or so, there was a problem with the local raw milk I was buying, and the kefir grains weren’t working well. I began to go back to my old symptoms. So I learned from that, that I need to make sure to have the kefir and sauerkraut every day, that I am dependent on them to stay in this better health. But I have to say that this has been nothing short of MIRACULOUS for me. Nothing I have ever tried – and I tried A LOT – has given me this gift of health and well-being. I listen every week to Donna and have learned from her videos how to make these cultured foods. I so appreciate her determination to understand the human body and what it needs and her ability to be of so much help to people.
Also, I forgot to mention one other major way the kefir and sauerkraut have helped me – I was having diarrhea more and more often at unexpected times, probably IBS. That simply is not happening anymore unless I eat something that is terrifically allergenic to my system. That happens only very seldom. I’m sure I’ve left out other ways my life has changed with this miracle. I took bottles and bottles of good quality probiotics over the years, but they didn’t do much of anything for me.
Thank you, Irene
Maybe a coincidence, BUT, since putting a Q tip into my fermenting red peppers, into my ears, my hearing has improved, even when not wearing both my hearing aids. Also, I know that, because the volume on my tower computer, I am able to turn way down low, & still hear, albeit, I wear headphones!
Donna, I want to thank you so much for putting this life-changing information out for people to discover. There was a point in my life when I was going through a very hard time mentally. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and also found out I had a hormonal imbalance. I was feeling down most days but with a change of my diet (vegan) and taking supplements I started to feel a lot better and stable. But, near my period the depressive symptoms would come back, I would have major anxiety attacks, and barely could get out of bed. I prayed to Jehovah God to help me and to show me what I was missing. Then I stumbled on this website and learned about kefir. Immediately bought some and noticed a major difference in my mood and anxiety levels began to lower. I now am drinking kombucha and kefir daily and just started with cultured veggies. It was almost an instant relief and I truly believe God answered my prayers. I have to say Donna all your emails about hormonal imbalances came at the times when I was feeling the lowest, and they reminded me that I need to stick with my probiotics and actually take more! I truly believe God is using you to help others and I have thanked him for his help and for yours as well.
Donna Schwenk’s Cultured Food Life
It’s saved my life. No kidding! After four serious bouts with diverticulitis and two hospital stays for abscesses, I knew I needed to make a change or I would need surgery to remove part of my colon. Drs. told me I really didn’t have a choice. I would keep getting them until one of them possibly killed me from an infection. I know it’s very serious so I took their advice very seriously.
It’s a very long story but your book was an answer to my earnest prayer to God for wisdom in getting my health back. I was a mess.
I “happened” to be on Amazon and saw your first book. On a whim I bought it and the rest is history. It’s been two and a half years since I’ve had an attack. (After four in under two years). I’ve lost 60 lbs and feel amazing. My blood pressure is consistent at 118/72 (went off diuretics with my physician’s hesitant permission), and my blood sugar stabilized to well within normal.
I make and eat kefir, Kombucha, sour kraut, and fermented vegetables. EVERY DAY! I totally cut out white sugar and flour. Only use honey or homemade maple syrup from our trees.
I’ve taught so many people to make fermented foods. Someone is always coming over to learn. So your book has been a gift by me to many people. I feel it’s a small investment I can make in the lives of my friends and family.
I found you when I was at my lowest. I reached up to God for mercy and he led me to you. Don’t mean to sound overly dramatic but it’s true.
People who know me are amazed at the transformation. They say i look ten years younger. I have 11 grandkids and can actually keep up with them.
I raise about 40 chickens on non-GMO feed and sell excess eggs to help pay for the feed. I have a huge garden that I use fresh and for my ferments. The grandkids can’t wait to come to grandma’s and pick carrots, peas, tomatoes, peppers, or whatever grandma lets them pick. Life is good.
Anyway, thanks and God bless you.
OH MY GOODNESS!!! Thank you so much for the extra information included in the email of September 30, 2018. I have had a sinus infection and fluid in my inner ear for 3 months. Took strong antibiotics for 3 weeks, and since then I have been diligent about EATING the veggies to restore my digestive tract and feel very good on that score; but, I can’t hear well in one ear and constantly have that annoying sensation of popping, clicking and pressure shifting that usually is associated with altitude change. I did the Q-tip trick mentioned in your email 5 times in the last 24 hours and my ear feels SO much better: less pressure and I can hear!!! What a huge relief. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS EMAIL, and for getting the word out on our wonderful little bug helpers. Keep it up, girl!!
My story starts about ten years ago while battling Lyme’s Disease. I was in the throes of raising our 7 children and needed to remain active, yet that was becoming impossible as each day passed. I realized that I needed to work on myself from the inside out….. NOT just treat symptoms, as the doctors kept trying to do. I started to research on my own and stumbled onto your website. My life changed that day for sure. I ordered some kefir grains, as we had milk goats at that time, and got to work. Changing my diet, adding the kefir, using a few other natural alternatives, I am in better health today then I was 30 years ago! We grow our own vegetables and fruits on our farm and I culture EVERYTHING now. I incorporate these cultures into everyday recipes which has been so much fun for me.
I have been asked to share my story with so many people, and have been asked to demonstrate the culturing process in small class settings. I just recently started a small business in Virginia, going into homes of those who are desperate to learn of a way to better health. I also do a Farm to Table class, in my home, which most folks walk away from as friends. It is so emotionally exciting to me when life is completely transformed as mine has been.
I cherish your podcasts and updates on the web. Your recipes are soooo amazing. I refer your website to everyone I meet! I appreciate all your hard work and effort to get the word out on gut health. It really is vital to life!
Blessings To You,
I just wanted to share that I had my 6th-month check-up this week. In 2011 I was diagnosed with breast cancer (stage 1). I completed chemotherapy treatments as well as radiation and hormone therapy until early 2016. I was supposed to have taken the hormone therapy for 5 years but after two years I quit because the side effects of all the treatments left me in worse condition after than when I started, and it was all just too much for me.
After I stopped taking the medications (for cancer prevention) my test results began to show that cancer markers were beginning to climb. Of course, my family and I began to worry.
Well, last year while visiting a friend she shared a cup of Kombucha with my husband and I. We had never heard of it, and what caught my attention about it was that there were claims of it protecting against cancer. After that night I was on a mission. We found it in the stores and started to drink it. Then soon after I learned how to make it and I haven’t stopped!
Early this year I happened to find your inspiring story on YouTube. I was able to find Kefir, I started making and drinking it, as well as eating Cultured Vegetables. I am now doing great! My blood test results came in, and after not taking ANY medications for cancer prevention since early 2016, my cancer markers are LOW! Thank you, Jesus! My doctor shook my hand and said, “Congratulations, it looks like we won’t be doing business with you anytime soon. Keep doing what you are doing and we’ll see you back in one year (no longer every 6 months) Enjoy life.”
Donna, you are part of my celebration of staying cancer-free AND medication free!! Thank you for being the inspiration that you are! I am one little microbe among 100 trillion who is so grateful for all that you do!
God bless you! Sincerely,
Susie Florian ❤️
P.S. Moses, my husband also has his own story. Diabetes is gone, he is able to sleep at night, and incredibly his gray hair is turning black!
I was reluctant to try cultured food because I have spent more money than I can afford on things that might help me feel better and I really got so discouraged. This small investment has helped me so much. My blood pressure, diabetes normalized, and constipation left me. I threw my stool softener, laxative, and enema bag in the garbage, and then I put on some good music and I celebrated with a glass of Kefir.
By the way, my dog (Snickers) loves kefir grains and even Kombucha. I think she was going through a healing crisis and I didn’t give her any for a week. After a week I started giving it to her again and now she is fine.
I don’t know how I can thank you. Except to tell people about you and our friends: CULTURED FOOD!
Patches & Bear
We had so much Whey, my husband could not drink it all, so, I started adding some to my Shitzu’s food. My first observation was that their stools were better formed. Also, our male just gets so excited when it’s time to eat now that he “spins” his feet to take off to “their” room. But the most exciting thing for us is with our small female. She was always small, very lightweight, thin hair and her tail, though it came up over her back did not curl as it should and she had also developed a fatty feeling growth on her tail in the middle. The vet said they would remove it but didn’t think it anything to worry about. So, shame on us, we just procrastinated getting it taken of. We have always added a tablespoon or two of canned food to their hard food (both grain-free). Now fast forward to the current time. I had started making the additional food instead of using canned and with so much whey added some to that for moisture. Then I put maybe a 1/4 cup of whey on their food at serving time. They both love it. Well, I started to notice we had to get their hair cut more often and Patches (our female) hair was getting thicker and now appears to be a little wavy. But most of all, one day my son said Mom, you know that bump on Patches tail, it’s almost gone. I hadn’t noticed but checked and for sure it was more than 1/2 to 3/4 the size it was. Now it is almost gone and more exciting than that her tail is starting to curl. I have to believe its the whey addition to their diet. I guess it could be just a coincidence but I’m hoping it is whatever benefit she is getting with the whey. They are also becoming very firm in their body structure.
Thank you for your insight into better health. Gloria
Thank you very much for the ebooks and for sharing your story. Finding you online and following your information has made a big change in my life. It’s only been less than two months but I am feeling the best that I’ve felt in more than 30yrs. My family and friends were skeptical but ‘we’ have shown them how much difference natural probiotics can make even in such a short time. My last diabetes blood test was the best it’s been in more than 5 years and my last eye test surprised the optometrist. When my sugars were very high in Sept, my eyes went way out of whack and a change in script would have been very drastic, but she wanted me to control my sugars and then have a retest first. She certainly wasn’t expecting this call back visit to be so good that a change in script was not even needed. Following along with Kefir and fermenting with the kefir whey, has made the biggest difference to my cravings, the pills I would pop, pain as well as meds as well as supposedly ‘feel better’ ones. Other than the real meds, all the others have been dropped bit by bit and I’m working on the real meds too with each doctor’s checkup. I am also looking at Kombucha but will probably make Jun as it is green tea and honey, which I prefer the taste and benefits of. Anyway, once again Thankyou, Thankyou. ❤ Maryanne Carter
I’ve told my story to anyone that will listen but realized tonight I never said thanks to you.
About 3 years ago I was frustrated at the never-ending infections, breathing treatments, and other kid health concerns that I just knew there had to be another way. I found you through a series of podcasts and had to order the kefir berries. 3 years later that same order is going strong J
I started my kids on kefir smoothies 3 years ago. At the end of that winter, prior to kefir, my youngest son had been on antibiotics about 6 times. I remember that because I knew that was the magic number for tubes. We made it through that winter with no tubes and started doing kefir smoothies about 5 days a week. Since that time my youngest son has NOT been on antibiotics since!!! I couldn’t be happier. My older son is about once per year but I just finally came to the conclusion he has allergies… so I’m going to have to figure that out next J (he is on over the counter stuff for now). My kids rarely get sick. When they do it might be a quick 1-night fever or small cough but each has only missed 1 sick day of school in the last 3 years (that was because someone literally threw up on my son J )
My “dessert smoothie” has 1c kefir, 2 mandarin oranges (with about a quarter size of the skin), 1 cup of spinach, a splash of vanilla and 3/4c frozen cherries… No extra sweetener… kids LOVE it! (must have a Vitamix) It is their dessert almost every night. I have other flavors, but this is my favorite too… (this is for 2 kids)
This year I have gotten into the cultured veggies more. While they are not huge fans, if there is any hint of tummy troubles or even throwing up I have them drink the juice. I used to have to chase them around… but they know it works now and will take it when asked J
Kombucha we do occasionally… not a regular on that.
Your passion has changed the health of my kids, and maintained mine! As a working mother with 2 boys (5 & 7), I will do whatever it takes to keep them healthy and happy. People often ask how I find time to do what I do… How do you not? With the results I have gotten, I won’t stop.
Keep up the good work – I’ll keep listening to podcasts and buying your books. I totally appreciate everything you do. Thank you!
This is Bonkers, one of our rescue cats. He has the Herpes virus and suffered from terrible mucous and irregular bowels for years. Our veterinarian recommended a Lysine supplement It helped but didn’t make that much of a difference. The kefir did! The mucous is almost gone. There’s no more sneezing fits with mucous dripping from and encrusting his nose, and his bowels are normal. We started giving him half a teaspoon of kefir twice a day. When he didn’t have a negative reaction, we doubled it to a teaspoon. He liked it so much and begged for more (he thinks he’s 1 of the dogs, that helps) that it grew to a tablespoon twice a day. Now, when we have extra grains, we mix them into his food a few times a week. We cannot believe how much his health has improved in just 2 weeks after struggling with it for over 10 years. Thank you!
I have used Kefir for over 15 years, and I absolutely swear by it. Prior to using it habitually I had severe allergy attacks, a constant struggle with heartburn ( popped Pepcid tablets frequently with no lasting results), bowel issues, and would get colds with the change in weather like everyone else.
Once I received my very own first batch ten years ago to care for and use every day all of my ailments disappeared. My health is far beyond what I had hoped for and I feel great. I am so blessed to use this miracle grain and have shared it with all my friends and family!
About a year after menopause I started getting recurrent UTIs. I was on an antibiotic roller coaster. The final straw was going from one antibiotic right to another. A whole month on antibiotics! None of the usual natural remedies were working. I tried them all, only to end up with another infection. Finally, I started asking friends to pray and seek God with me for an answer.
That is when I ran across this site. I started reading about Kombucha and Kefir. I checked out other sites on this to really understand about this drink. It made sense that I needed more probiotics than any one brand of pill could give me. So out to the store, I went and bought kombucha and milk kefir.
What happened was nothing short of a miracle. I could literally feel the pain going away within half an hour of drinking the kombucha! Within a few days, I realized that I was sleeping better and not feeling exhausted all day. One day I weeded the garden, cleaned house and cooked all in one day! It used to be just vacuuming would wear me out for the rest of the day!
I started making my own cultured veggies and kombucha and both water and milk kefir. Knowing that my body needed lots of help, I was drinking these often throughout the day. One morning I realized that I hadn’t had my morning tea in over a week and never missed it. Sweets slowly lost their interest. The pain was gone and I was feeling better.
This isn’t all. Through further research, I realized the Candida Overgrowth connection with this as well. I am currently working on this and have drastically changed my diet.
Before this, I wasn’t without an infection for more than 2 weeks. It has been a month now with no infections. My fridge is packed with cultured veggies, kombucha, and kefir that I have made myself.
I thank God for leading me to this site and bringing healing to this old gal
Hi there, Donna!
I bought milk kefir grains from you back in early 2014, after watching your moving testimonial video. My son, Hudson was 4 years old at the time and had recently received a PDD-NOS diagnosis (which is a non-specific autism spectrum diagnosis) and I was desperately researching possible causes of this frustrating syndrome. He was always a sweet child but had chronic constipation, behavioral problems, and severe learning disabilities. When I started him on milk kefir, he was only able to label people and things when I pointed to them; that was the extent of his communication abilities. The first night after giving both of us kefir in the form of chocolate protein shakes, I put him in bed with me out of fear of the dreaded Herxheimer reaction. I had some mild reactions myself, but what was very scary for me was waking up to Hudson wheezing and sounding like he couldn’t get any air into his lungs. I jumped up, put on shoes and buckled him into his car seat and we took off for the ER at the children’s hospital. Midway there, I heard a little voice singing in the backseat… so I pulled over, peered back at him and he was just smiling back at me and singing. That was the only day that he had a scary reaction from the die-off, but it still sticks out in my memory because it showed me the battle that was happening in his body with the introduction of an army of good bacteria. Two weeks after that day, Hudson began speaking in full sentences… TWO WEEKS. I could not even believe what I was hearing! After that, I became a kefir profit myself and my whole family started making and drinking kefir. Now- Hudson is almost 9 years old and is thriving! He is telling gross jokes and acting like a neuro-typical immature boy and I couldn’t be happier. In terms of his learning, he has become an avid reader and never wants us to tell him how to pronounce a difficult word… he tried for at least 5 minutes the other night to pronounce “unconscious” and finally allowed me to tell him, after which he repeated it incredulously and laughed hysterically. He is also a Math machine and prides himself on already knowing many of his times tables. Physically speaking, we have gone from weekly enemas to address his once-chronic constipation to never needing them. We still need to get him tested for food sensitivities again, but I have let him try some foods that he was previously sensitive to and he doesn’t have as many problems as he did before.
In terms of my own kefir journey, I have not been as consistent with it, but I always notice a marked improvement in my bowel habits, overall health, and my outlook on life when I’m having kefir at least every other day. I recently got a hypothyroid diagnosis, so I am taking the consistency with the kefir routine much more seriously now.
Something else that I have tried, without the advice of a doctor, just because I thought it was worth a shot, are kefir whey implant enemas. My thought stemmed from the idea of fecal transplants and the idea that if someone’s probiotic bacteria load has been ravaged by antibiotics, it will affect the entire digestive tract, not just the upper part. I don’t trust anyone enough to use their poo for that (nor would I trust the Medical Community to select someone suitable), so I thought of the kefir. I decided that milk solids would inflame the lower digestive system, but maybe whey would be OK? (I’m sure many people have decided I am cuckoo at this point in the story.) I started on myself first and tried 1 enema per week for about two months. After just two rounds, I noticed increases in energy, started feeling hungry in the morning for the first time ever and started losing weight without even trying. I also noticed that my wedding ring got looser and my stomach stuck out less, which indicated that I was retaining less water and was, therefore, less bloated. The effect has been so astounding on my bowels and has even had positive effects on my mood! My husband was so amazed by my experience that he tried it and it has cured his decades-long chronic indigestion and has allowed him to start eating certain foods he could not eat before without stomach pain and never-ending gas! There are still some foods he cannot tolerate, but the changes have been noticeable. My hope is, since these are living probiotic bacteria, one day we won’t have to do the enemas anymore at all. For now, we are happy to do them once per week and it has almost become a competition to see whose body can produce the happiest growls and gurgles.
I hope you rest easy every night knowing that you have changed innumerable lives, many of which will never be able to thank you directly, face-to-face. Thank you for sharing your story with the world and choosing such a worthwhile vocation- to share your knowledge, experience, and life-saving probiotic cultures. Together, we can heal our sick, tired, and sad society… one kefir grain at a time!
Debilitating tiredness – getting much much better! Severe asthma symptoms – gone! Cravings for carbs and sweets – gone!
I’ve been drinking kefir and kombucha on a daily basis for three short weeks. I don’t think I’ve had this much energy and focus since I was a young child. I was diagnosed with Graves disease over 25 years ago, which is a thyroid disease. I’ve struggled with debilitating tiredness, brain fog, and depression (due to never feeling well) for almost the full 25 years. I was able to overcome depression about 6 months ago. However, since I’ve adopted probiotics in my daily diet, my energy has increased, my focus is much better, and my mood continues to elevate.
About 15+ years ago, I couldn’t breathe very well and finally went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with asthma which was so severe the doctor said I should have gone to the emergency room. That day, I was scared for my life, and that was the day I had to start taking inhalers, purchase a nebulizer (which was very expensive), and take allergy medicine.
About 6 1/2 years ago I got two chinchilla’s, Ruby and Daisy, and found out I was highly allergic to the hay they ate, as well as the dust they need to roll around in once a week, minimally. I had to turn my office into their playroom because I had a terrible time breathing, which forced me to use an inhaler every day. I actually had to buy a face mask respirator to give them their bath, clean their bedding, vacuum, etc, which still didn’t protect my lungs one hundred percent. A few days ago, I came out of the chilla’s room after sitting on the floor, playing with Ruby and Daisy for about 30 minutes. The moment I realized that I didn’t have one asthmatic/allergy symptom and didn’t need my inhaler blew my mind! Usually, if I just stepped into the room to do something, let alone let them jump all over me, I couldn’t breathe, and my mouth, throat, and eyes would itch horribly. You had to pick my jaw up off the floor because I couldn’t believe I could breathe perfectly well and had zero itchiness.
Donna, I will be forever grateful that you agreed to come into this life and go down to the abyss so that you could heal yourself, your family, and ultimately millions of people. You’ve literally changed my life in three short weeks.
Hi Donna! Since eating and making cultured foods I am enjoying better digestion (minus a gall bladder). I was having terrible issues with an upper intestinal bacterial infection that wouldn’t loosen its grip. I was just learning to live with it and the IBS symptoms that ensued. Since eating the triple trio of cultured foods I am good to go every day! I particularly like to make Shelly’s cultured veggies and just purchased the gallon jar. It makes it easy breezy! I knew I was onto something good when I was listening to a gardening radio show with two tree experts answering questions. One question was about a fungal infection on the leaves. Should the listener use them in her compost heap? He said yes, use them. The microbial action of the compost would break the fungus down. That’s how I look at my gut anymore. I’m putting good microbes in there for it to do its job! I know I’ve got a good little compost combo going on…
Back in December of 2016 I have the car but my hands to come pick me up once they got there I’m a heart rate was completely out of control it was way over a hundred it was like 145 and blood pressure was out of control. What is the hospital in all types of tests and they came back and said everything was fine my heart was fine everything was fine I don’t know what’s going on. I was prescribed 25 milligrams of metoprolol twice a day to help slow the heart rate down and told to go see a cardiologist. With my husband just starting this new job on the 12th of December of the insurance hadn’t kicked in yet so I was not financially able to actually go to see a cardiologist. I had to be taken back to the emergency room three more times on separate occasions for the same thing they thought it was my thyroid I got blood drawn for bed I have all came back fine the last your trip was the end of January and I went and the because I wasn’t feeling good. They ran all types of tests came back and said everything was perfect no one could tell me what was going on with me so I decided to do a little research on my own because my heart rate seems to always go up once I ate. After doing some research I came across a couple of stories of people saying if they have IBS so some of my symptoms that point to that but I was very disappointed because after four er trips I would have expected them to be able to let me know what’s going on. After the day of leaving the emergency room, I made up in my mind to go ahead and try to see what I can do to get my body back to working properly. I went to a nature Market here where I live and in Texas and after speaking with the owner she informs me about the rock all Kefir as well as probiotics I decided that I would go ahead and give that a try because anything was worth me feeling better than I was feeling. I am actually 4 days in and my heart rate is now at a steady rate of in the seventies I thank God for that because I know that he sent me where I needed to go. I most definitely will incorporate the Kefir in my lifestyle every day I most definitely have been off the blood pressure medicine I know that you’re not opposed to automatically stop but it was actually making me sicker. My blood pressure for the last 3 days has been around 115 / 75 what A pulse around 73 or 74. I can truly say that this is the best I ever felt in a very long time I most definitely want to share my story with you because we never know how we can help someone. A lot of things we put inside body really does poison it so we most definitely have to heal the inside so I most definitely know that this is what helped me
In January 2016, I began to have weakness in my forearms, more so in my right forearm. I initially attributed it to soreness associated with activities. Over the course of a week, it became so severe that I could not lift a tea mug with my right hand, without the assistance from my left. It was at that point that I realized it was not just muscle soreness. After a quick Google search, I learned that statin medications can cause this type of weakness and I had taken statins to manage my high cholesterol for several years. I knew I would be seeing my physician the following month, so I decided to see what happened if I stopped taking the statin. Within a few days, all weakness and soreness subsided and I was basically back to normal. When I did see my physician, he wasn’t happy with me and prescribed a different statin for me to take. I started the new statin and, within days, the weakness/soreness returned. I stopped. When I saw my physician again in August, he gave me an even different statin and suggested I try taking one pill every other day, or a half a pill every three days or some other combination to see if I could take any without the weakness/soreness returning. I tried every combination I could think of, including a half pill once a week and the weakness/soreness still returned. It was now September 2016 and I vowed not to try another statin drug (after even more research). I did not know what to do and just continued to research.
By October 2016, I had found multiple sites recommending fermented vegetables and, after looking at many pages and several videos, I found one that just spoke to me. It was Donna Schwenk’s video on making sauerkraut. But, it wasn’t just a how-to video. She shared so much background information and stories of her own life. So, I watched that video over and over again, purchased the things I would need to make some sauerkraut, and made my first batch on November 2, 2016, while watching that video again! That was the beginning of my life with cultured foods. On November 7, when I opened that Mason jar, I said a little prayer and took a bite. It was awesome and I was so proud of myself that I shared it on social media. By Thanksgiving, I began brewing Kombucha and by Christmas, I began making milk kefir. Around that time, I realized I had not taken an Advil since my first bite of sauerkraut in November. Before then, I usually took 4-6/day for headaches and general aches and pains. I thought it must be normal for a 56-year old to feel that way. I was wrong!
As I prepared to return for my 6-month checkup on January 16, 2017, I was very nervous, not knowing how my physician would react to the fact I was not taking the statin and I had started this regimen of cultured food in its place. As I expected, he rolled his eyes a little when I told him, but I was so excited, it didn’t bother me. He annotated in my file that I was intolerant/allergic to statins and said he would fight with my insurance company to pay for a new drug that isn’t covered. He told me to “continue with your fermented things” until he called me back the next day with my lab results. That was a Monday and by Thursday, I realized he never called. When I called, his nurse told me “your labs are good and the doctor will see you back in 6 months”. I was so excited and asked her for my detailed numbers. My cholesterol dropped 41 points!!
Since then, I have posted about making sauerkraut, kombucha, and kefir on my social media, offering to help anyone who would like to start. I have shared my cholesterol story and encouraged others to try fermented foods/beverages. It has brought me so much joy to (1) find a food that I love that can improve my health more than any medication and (2) share all the information I have learned with my friends. I am so grateful to have found Donna’s video on Youtube, which led me to Cultured Food Life
Thank you, Donna!
Two years ago my son and I developed eczema shortly after he was born. I knew that it was somehow connected to the IV antibiotics I received while I was in labor with him since none of my other kids had antibiotics while I was in labor and they were eczema free. I had never had eczema before the iv antibiotics either. Doctors told me there was no cure for eczema and that the antibiotics couldn’t have given us eczema. My baby was covered from head to toe in horrible oozing eczema and I had to keep his hands covered 24/7 to keep him from scratching himself to the point of bleeding. I noticed that our eczema was worse when I ate anything with dairy or gluten in it. I begged God for wisdom and started reading and researching as much as I could. I started us both on probiotics and started drinking organic apple cider vinegar every day. When my son was old enough I started giving him apple cider vinegar too. Then I discovered sourdough and kefir. I no longer have eczema! It’s amazing! My son is almost eczema free and if he does have a flare-up, it’s not bad at all. Still working on getting his gut health restored. He LOVES his kefir. He asks for it at every meal and drinks it with only a little fruit from the second ferment. He knows he needs it. 🙂 Doctors still don’t believe me but it doesn’t matter. I know without a doubt that it healed us and that antibiotics were the root cause.
UPDATE!!! We just received this: ” I wanted to give you an update. I think my son was about two years old when I originally shared our story and he’s now five years old and has been eczema free for a few years now! He still loves kefir and now kombucha as well.”
Hello to all that are healing:
I am 56 years old and have struggled all my life with weight issues, digestive issues, and hypoglycemia. I am a Naturopathic Healer, attended and graduated from the School of Natural Medicine in Boulder, CO. So I have been using natural therapies for illness and healing for over 30 years. But no matter what I have done, weight and digestion have been a real struggle. Last year about this time, my husband and I sat down and said ok, we must do something cause feeling ill and our joints hurting all the time is just not a way to live life.
So I started researching again of different ways of working on losing weight, (diets don’t work) and changing how we live our life. One of the first things I was researching was how to eliminate soda from our lives. (We drank a lot of soda). Came across Kombucha, well never heard of this before, I looked into it further, I bought a couple of bottles to try and I liked it so I went home and researched, how to make our own, cause buying was expensive. Found a video done by Cultural for Health and they sold this mysterious thing they called a SCOBY. So I ordered it.
When it arrived, I excitingly followed the instructions and watched the video again on how to start my kombucha (dehydrated scoby). Had to wait several weeks for results, well sorry to say the scoby never came alive. So feeling disappointed, got back on the internet, suddenly there Donna Schwenk and Sandor Katz are on my search engine on YouTube. Cool, I watched these videos over and over. Went to local store got GT’s Original Kombucha, made the tea as instructed, added the little baby scoby and then magic happened in just 7 days and brand new scoby was growing. And we have been going strong ever since, no more soda in this house. Although we had bumps and bruises along the way, our technique is working very well. We do both black and green teas, then 2nd ferments. Love Donna’s ideas when it comes to flavors.
This was just the beginning, because of the Kombucha, which led me into Kefir, Donna’s Kefir Grains. (OH my they are powerful and resilient) I got Donna’s in March of 2016, (I think I have billions of them now). Then, of course, the fermented vegetables, (hence we have the Trilogy) we now live in the world of microbes.
Our health has changed dramatically, little to no joint pain, we have caught ourselves running, which is something neither one of us have done in years, going up and downstairs is no longer a struggle. Our everyday stamina has increased, in other words, we are not always tired. We both don’t feel bloated or constipated any longer, which was a real problem for me. Oh, can’t forget the changes in our hair and skin, skin tags went away on their own and I had age spots on my hands that went away also. Although we still struggle with weight which we are still working on, I feel that the microbes have to heal other parts of our bodies first in order for us to get to the next page of our healing. That being said, I am going to share my last healing crisis.
When I was 19, I had a pancreatitis attack. The pain was absolutely unbearable, put me in the hospital for 3 days. Pain meds and to drink some kind of nasty drink. Do not remember what it was, but it was nasty. Was sent home with a very bland diet, which at that time seemed to have help. I started taking Probiotics on a daily basis for years.
I did not have an attack since then, until two weeks ago. I woke up in the morning feeling ok, little out of sorts but ok. Within a few hours, I was in extraordinary pain, I knew what it was immediately. Can’t forget that pain. Well, I very quickly got on-line and looked at natural concepts to get me through this, cause going to the hospital is not an option, cause they only mask the problem, not heal the problem. So not much is said about healing naturally so, other than a few teas to cleanse the liver and gull bladder, which is good for cleansing, but I am in a crisis situation so not helpful. So I started a regime of sauerkraut juice, Kefir and Kombucha, simultaneously drank a little at a time and in between drank ginger/lemon tea with probiotics. By the end of the day, the swelling had gone down and the pain was decreasing. Got to get some sleep through the night without too much trouble. The next day feeling about the same, so I continued the Trilogy juice, as that day went on I felt even better, most of the abdominal swelling had gone down, but still some slight pain though, but tolerable. At this point, I can’t seem to get enough Kombucha, I kept craving more, so I drank more. I was going to the bathroom a lot, I knew this was cleaning me out. That evening went to bed, had to get up a few times to go to the bathroom, drinking 4/16 oz bottles of Kombucha will do that to you. It was about 3 am I woke up, I was sweating as I have never had in my life, not even through menopause. I was just drenched and my husband could not believe how hot I was, but I did not feel like I had a fever. I had to change my nightgown, got some water went back to bed, slept until my usual wake up time. Wow, I felt amazingly different when I woke up. The pain was gone, the swelling was gone, and I had gone through a huge physical change. The Kombucha was the key balancing my liver, pancreas and gall bladder. And it certainly released whatever toxic thing that was going on, out through my sweat glands and skin.
I know if I had not been doing the microbes, I would have ended up in the hospital, just because of the pain alone. But, I knew that my microbes friends would be there for me. I am so happy that I had found Donna’s page a year ago. I read the blogs and Everyone here has changed my life.
Now I can move forward and work on weight loss in 2017.
3 years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimotos Thyroiditis and was put on thyroid medication. As time went by I was getting sicker by the day with terrible muscle and joint pains, heartburns, my eyesight was getting very bad and the list goes on. I seriously thought I had some hidden cancer but all tests revealed nothing of the sort. I`m raising my 5-year-old by myself and started asking my family if they could tutor her if I was going to pass on. I could no longer do the things we did together and she was looking at me with a worried look all the time. One day I was searching youtube on videos to heal the gut and fell on your video. I have to say it seriously changed my life and now I have my life back, I see the future with my daughter and have tons of plans because of you. Thank you so much, Donna, you are a lifesaver.
All the best to you and your family, you are now part of my life and when my daughter hears your voice on the computer she asks me: Is this the lady who saved you, mommy? Yes, she is the lady who saved me.
Lots of love and light to you Samantha
Our story of healing is quite a miracle to us! I play the role of supermom (without the cape) to five sons, the youngest of which became extremely ill for the first time in his life after (5) immunizations, antibiotics and subsequently developed brain fog, gut dysbiosis, lost language and was diagnosed with candida overgrowth as well as leaky gut. At three years of age, he was given the label of moderately autistic. We were more than devastated! I poured my whole self into my son over the next eight years trying to help him to heal. He made progress in many areas, but at 8 years old he was sadly still in a pull-up and having horrendous diarrhea, stomach pains and digestion/candida issues. A friend of mine introduced me to Kombucha making, but I felt unsure about how to do it and concerned about the safety of it for my son. Not being a religious, but more a spiritual person I decided to ask the Universe & my Creator to guide me to the answers I sought. The next morning Donna’s website was the first one I found during a Kombucha google search. I made my first batch two years ago and with a hopeful heart, I gave my son a glass every morning with his breakfast. He loved it! Here is the miracle part — within literally (3) weeks later, one day my son “Phoenix” jumped up from playing and announced, “I need to poop!” He ran upstairs and used the bathroom!!! Sorry folks, but after 8 yrs. of the runs, this was the most beautiful poop I had ever seen! Not only that, but his brain fog began to lift and his speech got better. The rest is history. No more pull-ups, accidents or stomach pains. I remember my husband and I being wide-eyed and in shock the day this happened. We knew the Kombucha was the reason. It was the only new thing we were doing with our son after years of antifungals, supplements, and various diets. I am now in the process of changing careers & writing a book about our experience with our son’s autism and the healing power of not only Kombucha but Kefir as well. We love and drink both. What is even more amazing is that my husband’s blood pressure is going down and I too have been healing from the physical and emotional pain of a lack of self-care over the years while I was bent so far back trying to heal my son. God works in mysterious ways…yes indeed! Thank you, Donna, keep up your angelic work of service to others. You have touched our lives by sharing your passion for what you believe in and changed us in a profound way. Thank God for you and Cultured Food Life!
Not sure how to start one of these, but here goes. Several years ago, about 6 or 7 years, I began to get really sick. Just all of a sudden it seemed. I started to swell up from inflammation and then the pain set in. I could hardly walk anymore. I was getting more and more exhausted with every move I made throughout the day. All I wanted to do was sleep. I remember how horrible I felt, even now, I remember while talking about it. I would take more and more pain pills I was already prescribed for a back issue I’ve had for years. I suppose they just stopped helping and I needed a higher dose. I gained a lot of weight too. That certainly didn’t help.
A friend of mine was already seeing a doctor for her pain and unexplained weight gain and brain fog, so she suggested I go see him too. I agreed. I really didn’t know what else to do. To shorten this story lets just get to the part where I was diagnosed with a boatload of things, like fibromyalgia, RA, spinal stenosis, and the list went on. I walked out with a fist full of drugs for free and a list of prescriptions I was to start taking immediately. One of which was a form of chemo drug. I felt numb. My daughter and newly born grandson were with me. I waited forever to be a grandmother, and there I was, standing in a Doctors office, watching them decorate a Christmas tree, looking at my grandson I waited for my whole life it seemed, and I couldn’t even hold him in my arms without it causing me horrible pain! I started crying and it seemed I never stopped crying for a really long time. I thought about all the things I wanted to do in my life, still, and that I was never going to get to do them. I pictured my hair falling out. I cried again. I tried with all my might to climb up in my daughter’s SUV and it took all the energy I had! I kept staring down at the fist full of prescriptions wondering what happened to my life! I was a vibrant woman who trained horses and showed them alongside my daughter, how did I end up here? My daughter was trying to look like it was all ok, but I could see that look in her eye as though it were my reflection. The tears just kept burning my face. I was so lost that day.
I went on to fill the prescriptions, started taking them, first started with the full pack of steroids. Oh my goodness. I thought I was King of the Mountain when I was taking them. No pain, energy to burn. House as clean as a pin. And then they wore off!! The pain was even more horrible. ( the doctor warned me it would happen). Then every morning I had my cup to fill with prescriptions. A paper to write down when what and how much of all that poison to swallow. I got so depressed I was losing focus altogether on what the purpose of my life was.
Now, the second month of doctor visits, weight gain noted, 40lbs so far, and more burning pain in my limbs. Another doctor to visit. This time a new one. A specialist. The elevator door opened and all I remember seeing were rows of reclining chairs with IV poles hanging from them and patients sitting and watching TV. My heart raced. The tears started filling my eyes again. I realized my life was no longer my own and I was now a patient. After spending a great deal of time in an office spilling my guts to this new doctor about my symptoms, I just started crying and couldn’t stop. She handed me a box of kleenex and I really don’t remember how long it took for me to stop crying and get dressed to leave.
More prescriptions. They filled them there at the office. I was now in a fog I couldn’t see a way out of. My friend drove me home. I don’t remember even talking to her or thanking her for being there. Because I felt so alone, maybe I thought I was alone.
Long story short the steroid meds were administered wrong and I was so wound up I couldn’t stand it. I called to get help. They told me to call my own family doctor and ask them for a prescription for Valium. I knew then, I was in big trouble.
I got mad. I got really mad. I immediately started looking for another doctor. One who really cared. Low and behold I found one. He also told me I didn’t have all those diseases, and that he needed to wean me off those meds!! I had blood work, X-rays, etc. to confirm I didn’t have all those diseases but that my body was indeed reacting to something. The inflammation was real and so was the pain.
I started searching the internet for old fashioned home remedies. Herbs, spices, elixirs, whatever it took. I had remembered my grandparents used home remedies and that their parents did too. So I decided I was going to find some and make them myself.
I found a website that mentioned fermented veggies. It explained that way back when they fermented veggies and the benefits were unbelievable. So I searched more. I found a woman named Donna Schwenk who made ferments and milk kefir. I had to know more. So I read her blog like someone starving for food! I drank it in. I talked about. I would get up in the middle of the night because I couldn’t sleep, so I read and I learned. I watched videos on how to make this stuff. I immediately ordered the starters. I made my first batch of fermented veggies. It was so good I ate way too much of it at first. I felt the “die-off” they speak of and it was unpleasant, but I didn’t stop. I knew this was the stuff I was meant to eat. I knew I was on the right track!! I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, Donna was my teacher!! I went from veggies to water kefir then to milk kefir, then to Kombucha. I fermented everything!! My husband said I was a mad scientist!! I laughed. I said, “I’m making my own medicine”. “It’s healing me from the inside out”.. I thank the Lord for Donna. I call her my hero. I’ve told her that more than once on facebook. She is my hero. I believe God took me to her website and she is the reason why I am still, after 7 years, can’t believe it been that long, still making my ferments. My family eats my ferments. They drink my kombucha and my water kefir. I use my milk kefir for my protein drinks, and for making my salad dressings, and dips. I have used it in soups and much more. My husband loves my ranch dressing and he dips his veggies in it. My lake friends love my fermented salsa. They talk about that the most. My favorite is my orange water kefir. My whole family drinks my orange water kefir. No more experiments with flavors, orange is their favorite. The grandson I spoke of earlier that I was not able to hold, is now 8 years old and I hold him as much as he lets me. I have another grandson who is 6 and he lets me snuggle with him a lot. I certainly hope you can read how much I appreciate having my life back. Thanks to Donna and her research and forging ahead for us, I do have my life back. We have a houseboat and we go every weekend and every spare minute. I have kayaks and I use them a lot. I went on a kayak adventure of 14.7 miles on the river and I had my Aunt with me and I did all the rowing for both of us!! Yes, it hurt later, but I think it was worth it!!
I’ll say it again, Donna is my hero and she will always have that title as far as I’m concerned. I have a lot to thank her for. I know and I believe that fermented foods and drinks are what healed me. I was taking 28 pills a day! But I don’t any more! Now I’m a supplement girl! I am 58 years old this year. I didn’t feel like I would ever make it to this age. Oh, one more thing, I’ve had many people say I do not look 58 years old! Thank you, Donna, for doing the groundwork and making the public available to your research. I have purchased your grains and still have them all this time later. They still continue to make me well. My sister in Australia is also a follower. Take care. Here’s a big atta boy from me in Kentucky!!
It was a classic miscommunication. I was running out of the house to an evening meeting at the end of an activity-packed day. The night before we had shared a large salad with ham, feta cheese and ranch dressing from the grocery store. There was a little salad left in the bowl on the counter overnight which needed to be discarded and washed, but my husband arrived home hungry and assumed the salad was left for him. He had eaten a salad that was at room temperature for over 24 hours! As soon as I learned of his predicament, I remembered Donna’s article about food poisoning and loaded him up with kefir, kombucha, and cultured veggies. He slept through the night and went to work with more probiotics for the day. He never developed any food poisoning and I’m thankful for the mighty midgets which I also like to call my pets and for Donna who has taught me so much about them. I believe I will culture all my salad dressings now to prevent future mishaps. If the dressing had been cultured, it would have just cultured the salad and become a healthy probiotic food source instead of a bowl of poison! Thank you Donna and thank you God for giving us these great helpers.
This is our almost 12 yr old dog, Eddie. Kefir saved his life last week! He stopped eating, couldn’t walk very well, and was fading fast. I think he drank some stale water from a pond in our yard. I started giving him soft food with kefir poured over the top and within two days he was fine and back to his normal self! We will be giving him kefir every meal from now on!!
We also have a French bulldog that I have been giving kefir to because of his skin allergies. It is slowly working on him as well!
Thank you for all that you do! I share your Facebook page and books with everyone I speak to about health and wellness. The trilogy has been the foundation of my health recovery from IBS along with essential oils and healthy whole food! Have a great weekend!
I started making my own kefir once I learned about your blog and I learned how to make kefir first I started making kombucha and now I’m a keeper and I just can’t keep up drinking with it it’s so fast I live alone so I put my kefir grains in the refrigerator with some fresh milk and I take him out every once in awhile like every once or twice a week my life has changed drastically I had really bad account at the doctor next last year and I had was almost diabetic I had high liver enzymes high triglycerides and high cholesterol were not high but getting high and I was just depression lack of energy they kept blaming it on my thyroid I had high blood pressure in two months time I lowered my A1c to normal I’ve lowered all my liver enzymes even though I have fatty liver I’m in the low forties now instead of the high nineties I lowered my blood pressure from 159 / 92 to 128 over 80 and I am feeling very chipper I still am fatigued a little bit but not as bad and I’m exercising now and feeling a little more energy even planted a little garden so I must say drinking Kefir in the morning drinking it before I go to bed drinking kombucha and throughout the day I have sworn by it and I’m trying to get my friends to do it thank you so much for changing my life, Donna.
I started making my own kefir once I learned about your blog and I learned how to make kefir first I started making kombucha and now I’m a keeper and I just can’t keep up drinking with it it’s so fast I live alone so I put my kefir grains in the refrigerator with some fresh milk and I take him out every once in awhile like every once or twice a week my life has changed drastically I had really bad account at the doctor next last year and I had was almost diabetic I had high liver enzymes high triglycerides and high cholesterol were not high but getting high and I was just depression lack of energy they kept blaming it on my thyroid I had high blood pressure in two months time I lowered my A1c to normal I’ve lowered all my liver enzymes even though I have fatty liver I’m in the low forties now instead of the high nineties I lowered my blood pressure from 159 / 92 to 128 over 80 and I am feeling very chipper I still am fatigued a little bit but not as bad and I’m exercising now and feeling a little more energy even planted a little garden so I must say drinking Kefir in the morning drinking it before I go to bed drinking kombucha and throughout the day I have sworn by it and I’m trying to get my friends to do it thank you so much for changing my life, Donna!
Donna, I cannot THANK YOU enough! I am so amazed. I ALWAYS knew the answer was in the food but could not figure out which ones. I was on anti-depressants for 24 years. They had to be changed out several times over the years because they weren’t working well. 3 years ago I was diagnosed with Hyperparathyroidism due to the copious amounts of calcium being dumped into my bloodstream. I was constantly fatigued, my memory just shot (hard for a gal who has always had one amazing memory bank), the list is very long. Surgery was strongly encouraged repeatedly. I kept declining. Severe acid reflux began a few months ago and I was offered a pharmaceutical which I used only when so desperate and in pain, I could not get it to stop. 6 weeks ago I upped my very low dose of antidepressant (this time it was Prozac) under my doc’s guidance. Within 2 weeks I was sobbing every morning, lethargic, my memory worsened which I didn’t think was possible. I abruptly stopped the meds on a Sat, never recommended. On Wed I saw my doc who applauded me and said enough, no more. I had to be very careful with all foods as now the acid reflux really kicked in.
Yesterday I drank the milk from the kefir grains when making a new batch in the back of my car as they were already 24 hours out. My friend and I stopped at a place to eat which had some amazing chili lime shrimp tacos. I’d have avoided them but had the kefir and decided to test it. No Heartburn! I ate chocolate last night as a true test, No Heartburn! Slept like a baby and after a 10-12 hour drive with me doing nearly all of the driving, I’m PEPPY today!
I always knew the answer was in food but never could figure out what ones exactly.
Your own trials have changed MY life forever. Forever!!
I cannot thank you enough for having classes, getting so much information together in book form, doing so much research and creation on behalf of your body. THANK YOU FOR SHARING EVERYTHING including your amazing bacteria!!
Today I’ve had several people tell me how GREAT I look! I’m right now in the process of making several batches of goodies. 2 kefirs are in 2nd ferment, one is happening with coconut milk and another two are doing their thing with regular milk. In a few minutes, I’m making the grapes, the tomatoes and several quart jars of veggies to pass to friends (just the veggies for now!) because I KNOW they will feel better!
You are AMAZING, sister!!!
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!
I must admit that from the time I ran across your site I shared a healthy skepticism with many others about your claims of what the trilogy had accomplished in you and your families’ lives. I had been making my own sauerkraut for some time but had not been consuming it on a regular basis.
3 years ago I experienced what is called trigger finger! My fingers were locking up and not bending any longer but locking into a closed position. I had a CK test done and my inflammation was extremely high causing me all over body pain. I felt 80 years 90 years old and movement was very painful. I did my own research and found out that high levels of uric acid was a culprit as well. I began on the inside first. Raw goat milk kefir with Donna’s grains. BEST investment I ever made. I have been drinking Raw Goat milk kefir for 3 years now. I did go to a physical therapist who taught me about and went for three months to regain movement! But other therapists did not even know what to do for me, of course, they wanted to slice my arms pull tendons and scrape bone to make my tendons work again. I said NO. What is sad is that my doctor will not admit the raw milk kefir is what healed me on the inside of so many things I am sure I do not even know about. my diet is correct now I drive 80 miles to get my raw goat milk that is how important these grains are to live!!! They are filled with life healing properties. I beg you if you are in pain and bad health try this and stick with it for the rest of your life… Thank you, Donna, for this information. It saved me and I am living pain-free now and feel fantastic. I sold a guitar because I thought I would never be able to play again. Please do this first before any thought of surgery or horrible medication. I also pass goat milk kefir along to my pets!!!
When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.
Three years ago I was so sick I didn’t think I was going to live much longer. I was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus. I took medication that cured the hepatitis but my liver was diseased and damaged. The diagnosis was confirmed by a CT Scan and the report was very grim. My liver was scarred and shrunken. My body was unable to digest protein and it was turning into ammonia and poisoning me. I was disoriented and had difficulty focusing on daily activities. My hands had tremors and I could barely sign my name. I lost forty pounds in one month. There was no muscle or fat left on my body, I was skin and bones. My whole body ached and my joints were painful. I had a constant pressure headache. My face was drawn and my eyes sunken into my head. My hair was thin, brittle and falling out. I bled and bruised easily. My skin was like rice paper and sometimes ripped and bled from a simple touch or bumping into things. I remember removing a bandaid and watch ing the skin tear like paper. I also had ascites, a pleural effusion, a distended stomach and fluid in the abdomen, a side effect of cirrhosis which also caused a painful and debilitating hernia. My legs and ankles swelled from standing or sitting too long in one position (edema). My heart rate was 42-46 beats per minute (bradycardia), and my blood pressure was dangerously low. My gall bladder was swollen and had gallstones. I had surgery to repair the hernia but It was not healing properly.
Prior to my cirrhosis attack, I suffered from chronic severe heartburn. I was in so much agony I had surgery to repair my esophagus. I only experienced minor improvement. Shortly thereafter, I became ill with cirrhosis and my heartburn came back with a vengeance, it was worse than it had ever been. My esophagus was raw, I had difficulty swallowing (dysphasia), frequent choking and coughing, food and pills would get stuck in my throat. My voice was hoarse and my ears were aching and clogged. I was as miserable from my digestive disorder as I was from my cirrhosis. I was taking six heartburn pills every day, 2 Prilosec and 4 Zantac maximum strength. All of that medication only took the edge off the heartburn. I was placed on a low sodium and low protein diet and prescribed several other medications to stabilize my condition. I was barely existing on a diet of oatmeal, rice, grits, eggs, low acid fruits and melons, nutrition shakes and an occasional piece of meat.
I was desperate, gravely sick, unable to sleep and living one day at a time. I was afraid to close my eyes, I feared I would not wake up. For fifteen months I existed like this and never gained an ounce of weight. Some days were better than others but my condition didn’t change. I was embarrassed to go places or socialize because I looked and felt so bad. One day I got a phone call from my sister in law and she told me about a supplement that was beneficial for heartburn. While researching this supplement I came across an article that recommended drinking milk kefir and eating cultured foods as a way to improve heartburn and regain health.
I ordered milk kefir grains online for $10 or so. The second day after drinking my homemade milk kefir I told my wife I felt different. My stomach didn’t ache as much and my esophagus felt soothed and less irritated. After a couple of days of feeling improved my heartburn returned and I slipped back into the same rut, but I was determined to stick with it and give it a chance to work. I drank kefir twice a day and sometimes more and little by little I started feeling better. With each monthly doctor visit, I would report some improvement and I would ask to cut back on my medications. Most notably, I started gaining weight, real muscle, and even a little body fat. My doctor asked me what I was doing different and I told him about milk kefir.
Along the way, I found your website, culturedfoodlife.com and listened to your incredible story of healing. Your knowledge, enthusiasm, and sincerity kept me going when I didn’t think it was going to work. You explained how these foods worked and what I could expect from drinking milk kefir. I learned to make cultured foods and soon had homemade sauerkraut and kosher pickles in my refrigerator too. In four months’ time I became a different person. I felt alive again, I was gaining weight and I was eating real food. I reduced my heartburn medication from six pills down to two pills. In time, I was able to stop taking all other medications. All of the horrible side effects of my cirrhosis were improving.
It’s now been 23 months since my first drink of kefir. I have gained back all the weight I lost from my disease. I am active, energetic and living life again like I never thought possible. I still have cirrhosis, my liver is damaged, but somehow my body is compensating and I am living without any of the side effects like those I described above. I know the milk kefir has completely rebalanced my gut and allowed my body to digest foods and heal itself. My heartburn is gone, I can eat any food I want, even foods that I haven’t eaten in more than ten years, including spicy!
I want to thank you for the incredible work you are doing. Your energy, enthusiasm, and spirit kept me going when I thought I wasn’t going to improve. I want to encourage you to continue sharing your story and your knowledge because you have helped so many people rediscover their health and enjoy their lives the way it was meant to be. You have helped me tremendously and I am so grateful for that.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, (and my liver too, haha),
Hi Donna, I live in the county of Yorkshire in the UK. l purchased a magazine called, “What Doctors don’t Tell You.,” and your story was in the magazine. What a wonderful outcome. l have managed to source both milk and water kefir grains and in 3 days l feel supersonic! l thank you from the bottom of my heart. Perhaps you are an angel. good luck!
I wanted to say how grateful I am to you and your quest for the whole world to experience the power of cultured foods! I began reading your blog and became a member back in February as I felt I have been running in circles trying different methods to help myself just feel better and to help both my children’s overall health. My journey began slowly, as I could not find live kefir grains in my area at the time and the dehydrated ones I purchased and used, I now realize they were hurt in some way and completely different from when I came to experience healthy, live grains! A bit discouraged, but nevertheless, I kept reading your uplifting and informative articles and new that I must not give up! I could feel your passion and sincerity through your writing and I just knew I was on the right path to a better me! I was blessed with finding a kombucha scoby, beautiful kefir grains, and I continually make cultured veggies (plan to pick up a sourdough starter soon!) and consume some each day, sharing with my children as well. Now, nine months after my journey began, I was scheduled to have a routine checkup for a benign tumor in my breast which has been causing pain for the past 2 years. Each visit would bring the same results – non-invasive – and I would be sent on my way to “deal” with it, as I was told it would probably be a part of me until I reached menopause. However, I somehow knew this visit would be different, I could feel the lump more pronounced and immediately thought bad news. Boy was I wrong! Turns out the fatty cells around the mass had actually shrunken and were disappearing! That’s why I was able to feel the original mass much more clearly. When I got back to my car I burst into tears, I was so thankful for you and for the millions of bacteria fighting to keep my body well! Consuming cultured foods is the ONLY thing I had done differently since my prior appointment and I cannot thank you enough for sharing your journey with the world to help people like myself. With prayer and cultured foods, there’s nothing we can’t do!! Thank you, Donna and God Bless!! xo
I am thankful that my husband made it out alive from Tower 1 on 9/11 (with 8 minutes to spare). I am also very thankful for you, Donna, because he has recovered from 11 years of PTSD due to 9/11, partially because of you. It was after we started drinking kefir every day that he really started doing better despite everything we had done herbally and nutritionally for him.
He is off all medications and is doing great! He was unemployed for much of those 11 years and we have 7 children! Talk about stress!!! Now we make 2 gallons of kefir every day and drink every bit of it. The kids love it, and I feel better and so does my husband.
You’ve given all 9 of us a new lease on life. If only you knew how terribly awful our lives have been for the past 11 years. The only light at the end of the tunnel was the oncoming train. I feel like a little girl on Christmas morning every morning now. I truly love life now!
Thank you, Donna!!!
“Donna, this is so emotional! I can’t believe I was privileged enough to be the mother of a miracle – and YES, I truly believe he is a miracle! I NEVER expected my son to walk or talk or be “normal” when he was a baby! Now he is SO SMART and his brain is always on and processing!
I remember when he was still in his stupor, and you made a comment about how he takes everything in and is so observant, and you could see his brain working – yet he couldn’t communicate or even crawl at that time – he was!! He was storing all that info for later! I wanted to let you know that the little brain that wasn’t able to talk for the longest time and just gazed around like he couldn’t comprehend anything… THAT little brain IS READING!!! AT 3 YEARS OLD! I kid you not, Donna!! I think he will start piano lessons soon – he LOVES music …
Watch, Donna ~ his successes are because of your food cult and your enthusiasm for food! We started sprouting, making coconut kefir, kombucha (which he BEGS for!), lots of cultured veggies, and tons of Bubbies pickles! I decided that since we ran out of coconut milk … we might as well go with raw milk on Saturday! And he did great.
I AM THRILLED!!!!
I can’t tell you how big of a breakthrough this is for us! I even gave him raw milk and his sprouted cookies for a snack today! It has been a very hard road for us that we are still on – but our road has been made so much smoother because of your help!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your help and for never tiring of my scoffing!“
Hello Donna! I’m so thankful for you! Your positive attitude and love for life are contagious. I’ve been on a healing journey for about 3 years now. Severe Adrenal Fatigue, IBS, and a zillion other issues. It can become such a drudge trying to figure out what do eat, not eat.
When I came across your video telling the story of your healing journey, it was so inspiring to me! Just the way you tackle life with such zeal sold me on cultured foods. I was making kefir already, but I started the second ferment and it was so good! I then inhaled pickle juice and crave it. I got my sauerkraut going.
The most helpful thing you taught me was how to make successful sourdough! I was fixing to throw out my starter because my bread was always dense and flat. Now I have beautiful, yummy bread every week. I’m feeling better and having more energy than I have in the past 3 years. My laundry is finally staying caught up! 🙂 My husband thanks you.
My mother and Grandmother are now kefir makers. I have also been passing out Kefir grains to all the people in our church. I’m on a mission to have the healthiest flock around! Thanks so much for all you do, and for your passion and love for good health!
God Bless You!!
My dog had urinary tract infections since puppyhood that we could never clear with antibiotics prescribed by the vet. after a year of dealing with her incontinence issues from the infections, I decided to give her kefir with each meal. She hasn’t had a UTI since! Thank you!
Our family has just started on the probiotic food journey. my 7-year-old son has had lots of health issues for years. A holistic dr ordered a test that revealed that he had no good bacteria left in his gut after many rounds of antibiotics.
I started making water kefir and cultured vegetables to supplement the probiotic that was prescribed. my children ask for water kefir every day!! and my son asks for his cultured carrots. While we have a long way to go before we reach health, I feel like we are on the correct path. I can’t wait to learn more!
Donna, I really can’t say thank you enough for introducing me to cultured foods. Nothing is harder for a parent than watching your child be sick. My son, Daniel, was in the NICU for a week when he was born, because they thought he had spinal meningitis. He was drenched in antibiotics and thank God it turned out to be false. However, as I learned after meeting you, killing all the good bacteria in his body as a newborn left him with a lot of health problems.
He had many food allergies and showed signs of ADD, hyperactivity, and Dyslexia. He also seemed to catch every cold and flu that went around and would be sick for several days. We used your grains to start making kefir for him as an alternative to the milk he was allergic to. He absolutely loved it and showed no sign of reaction to it.
We noticed that he seemed able to focus more and had fewer behavior problems. Kefir also helped me feel better, so I went one step further and made Shelly’s Cultured Vegetables from your book to try for myself. He came down with the flu and I thought, what the heck, might as well give it to him. We gave him a spoonful every hour or so and by that evening he was running around being a normal 4-year-old boy, so we kept feeding it to him every day.
That is when things really started to change.
He has lost all signs of his ADD, is able to focus, and doesn’t get sick all the time like he used to. I was so shocked by the effect cultured foods had on his mental health and behavior. I started researching it and found so much evidence to support what you have been teaching all along. Now he eats cultured vegetables and kefir every day.
I know the whole course of his life has been changed for the better. He will spend so much more of his life being well and will be able to do so many more things because he won’t be sick all the time. He will be able to focus better in school and have fewer behavior issues. It is impossible to measure how much the possibilities of his life have been changed for the better and that is why I can’t thank you enough
Poor Bennett woke us up at 1 am after not quite making it to the bathroom ~ nasty vomiting & cramps from a stomach virus. Thanks to Donna Schwenk he is now feeling better after drinking a glass of kefir that took him an hour & a half. But it’s down and doing its magic!
Got a new jar on the counter with a grain in it for making more! Everyone in the house is drinking kefir today to keep us away from what looks like a whole lot of nastiness!!
My wife and I are so excited about our new found friends…..all 100 trillion of them. We feed ’em kefir and kimchi, and soon your trilogy, as often as we can…..like every meal and snack. We are in our early 70s and are so jazzed eating this way. For the first time in our lives, we sense a heightened purpose to our meals.
We travel full-time in our RV motor home doing volunteer work at OR and CA state parks and now have more energy and fewer aches and pains……literally none. We now sense we’ll be able to remain “drug-free” for hopefully the rest of our lives….what a blessing. We care increasingly less about inequities and more about how we can get this important message out.
Your story and efforts are inspirational. We’ll be doing more in the future.
Keep up the wonderful work. Blessings,
I was introduced to Kefir about 6 months ago while pregnant with my 6th baby. After my first 1/4 cup, I felt so energized and my nausea went away!! I have been making and drinking kefir with my family every day since! My kids love it so much they say they would rather have a kefir smoothies than ice cream!!! My 2½-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a year ago and my husband has type 2.
We have been on a journey to health through whole foods. We feel that cultured foods are a huge piece of the puzzle to keeping our family healthy and happy. Thank you for all you do! I Love learning about And implementing these new (to us) foods in my family’s diet. I can’t wait to learn more and share it with anyone and everyone who is willing to hear it!
Hi Donna, I just wanted to let you know I had my first batch of Kefir tonight. I second fermented with an orange peel as you showed in the video, and it was delicious and even a little fizzy as you showed. I had two cups, so I drank some and gave some to my friend who wants to get grains and start. She also said it was delicious.
Two of her 3 boys have digestive problems and she wants them to drink it every day. Plus her doctor told her to drink kefir for joint problems. (She is the one who was first so offended about kefir vs. matsoni.) So I just wanted to let you know that with all your help and your wonderful videos, I feel I made a successful start with Kefir that I don’t think I ever would have done with all the help, pictures, videos, answered questions!
After traveling to Ukraine for two weeks later this month, I’ll come back and start on cultured veggies! Now I have two friends who want kefir grains, so it means when I travel, I’ll have someone to care for my grains or I can just get new ones. You’re such a blessing to me and to so many others. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your detailed videos, answers to questions and more. I don’t know any other website or help site that provides so much help.
Also, it was delightful skyping with you!
With deep gratitude,
PS: I just LOVE your website and all the answers. I had a question about using a cellar to store cultured veggies and was going to email you. Then I decided to check the forum first and found a detailed answer!
What a great service!
Donna, I want to thank you so much for your incredible website! I can’t even begin to tell you how much you have changed my life! I came to cultured vegetables through my mercola.com daily email. For months I read about probiotics and cultured vegetables, but I had no idea where to begin.
I started to take probiotic capsules and didn’t really notice a change in my life. Then, I ordered a case of cultured vegetables from immunutrition.com because reading about making them yourself seemed nothing short of crazy! I loved the veggies and found that when I ate them daily, I didn’t crave sugar – which was a first in my life. When I went to order a second case, they were 4-6 weeks back-ordered (they were featured on mercola.com), and I almost had a panic attack. What would I do without my veggies?
I went to the internet and searched, and I found your site. I loved that you had videos and SIMPLE short recipes. No crazy ingredients, no giant batches, no $1,000 equipment, just simple and delicious. I made my first veggies – Christmas Kraut – which sounded so wonderful (and was!). I was hooked on making them! I signed up for your free guides and read every word. I decided to really commit and becoming a Biotic Pro for a year. I starting watching your classes and was fascinated!!
You sent me your book so quickly and I was jumping up when it came in the mail!! I read all the recipes, dreamed about making every one! I made Maci’s carrots and apple kraut and they were fantastic! I started to think about Kefir – but I had such a hard time digesting milk – I just didn’t think it would work for me. But, I got a powdered cultured and tried it. At first, it was so fizzy and tart, I just didn’t know if I would enjoy it. But I drank it more. I even made a batch with Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk for my kids. THEY LOVED IT!
I started adding a drop or two of extracts and a couple of drops of Stevia and it was like a dessert. I had no trouble digesting it – I was overjoyed! I always have one or two batches ‘cooking’. The more I ate/drank – which was every meal – the better I felt. I can’t describe it – but I felt alive. Really alive. More than I have in such a long time. I woke up refreshed in the morning. My chronic yeast infections were gone. My skin was radiant. I thought happy thoughts about everything in life! I don’t know how all these foods can do this exactly, but something has changed inside me – down to my core.
What is amazing too, is that so many foods used to bother my stomach and I had IBS very bad (abdominal pain). I always had a belly ache. Now I eat kefir, veggies, ccoo biotic, etc. with all my meals and all my indigestion has gone away. Sometimes we eat out, and I have some veggies and kefir before we leave. I think it is going to irritate my IBS, but it never does. It is like a miracle.
I also want to tell you that I love your videos for the Biotic Pro. I love being able to ‘take’ one of your classes day or night. I love how passionate you are about everything you do. You have made this daunting task so very easy! Your recipes are smaller batches, so I can make them easily in between everything else I do. All your instructions are perfectly clear and easy to follow. Your book is magnificent! I hope you’ll come up with a volume II someday! Very soon I’ll start to get more adventurous!
Just today I made a batch of Daikons and made up a simple recipe myself. It’s very addicting. I told my husband – I will run out of refrigerator space before I run out of enthusiasm! If I make a recipe that I really love, I’ll email it to you too! Thank you again for all your help! There are people who are put on this earth to make our world a better, happier place – and you are one of those people. You bring joy and health to all the people whose lives you touch. These gifts you give to others are beyond value and we are forever grateful. Thank you for sharing your passion!
Happiness and health to you, always.
Hello Donna, I began my fermented food journey a few years ago. I was overweight and having constant yeast infections. I began by fasting a number of times which did help a lot, I lost almost 60 pounds and once I added homemade yogurt, fermented pickles and kimchee my yeast infections were finally under control.
Since then I have jumped into all kinds of fermenting, kefir, kefir water, and fermented vegetables. I originally just followed recipes from Wild fermentation, but then I came across your facebook site and then your website. I have found it very inspiring and am so glad to see that so many other people are having their health transformed by incorporating fermented foods.
My husband and I are beekeepers and are currently trying very hard to inform people about the dangers of GMO crops and the deadly effects they have on our earth’s pollinators. we live in a world where we seem to be at war with an industry that is pushing poisoned, chemical-laden food that is devoid of nutrition, I see so many people eating more and more of this food-seeking to fill their bodies with the nutrition they need and still they are malnourished. I sincerely thank you for helping people and making all this information readily available and easy to use.
You are making a huge difference in so many people’s lives!
Hi, Donna! I have some exciting news to pass on. I remember reading last summer about how probiotics had helped reduce your allergy symptoms, and thinking how wonderful that would be. Based on your success, I was encouraged and even willing to keep at it for four of five years to achieve some reasonable reduction in watery, itchy eyes and, of course, the sneezies.
We attended your introduction class in March 2012 and bought some milk kefir grains that night. Within a few months, we’d added water kefir, kombucha, and cultured veggies to our diet. I’d been taking coconut oil for some time so I suppose we can add that to the list, too. I take all these religiously every day and am pleased to report that now, just fourteen or fifteen months later, I am essentially allergy-symptom free! Wheeee!
I still can’t believe it! It’s hard to explain how great it feels not to have to put up with these long-held symptoms anymore. Summers were always the worst, but this year my allergies just have not been a problem. And I understand this summer is one of the worst for allergy sufferers like me. While I didn’t play football with dinosaur eggs in my youth, I am approaching my sixty-sixth birthday in a few months, so I’m pleased that for once, age doesn’t seem to be a complicating factor.
Bruce HoodIt looks like you can get healthy at any age. I hope your followers are experiencing similar results or can hold out some reasonable hope that they, too, can reduce or eliminate the symptoms. If it worked for me, it has to work for others. I just thought you’d like to know. Thanks for educating us about these wonderful healing foods.
Hi Donna, I just have to tell you ( as I hope you’ll be as excited as me considering everyone around me thinks I’m looney) however… I had tickets to a 2-day music festival this weekend & on the second day i awoke with a terrible UTI so bad I wasn’t going to go. But a thought stuck in my mind of u treating your sick son DJ with pickle juice…
So Saturday morning i started with a kefir smoothie with lots of coconut oil, a big glass of kombucha with green powder & i started scooping & drinking the juice from the relish of yours I made a few weeks back (relish was almost gone but the liquid was still left) so over 2hours I sipped kombucha & pickle juice (between toilet visits) & repeated to myself that id be good by lunchtime… I was!!! I went to the festival at 12:30 pm & rocked on till 12:30 am on water & some lite food & by the end I was still bouncing off the walls when all the drunk people looked like death!
I had/have so much energy I cannot put it into words! I can only thank u for your amazing posts & real-life wisdom & experiences that directed me to this amazing world of bacteria! Its been a bit of a confirmation for me it has affirmed my direction with my health so thank u!
Through my ill’s there comes a will!
My life has indeed been touched by fermented foods. I have my 2 children to thank for moving me to this journey. There’s nothing like becoming a mother and it totally changed my life from that moment onward. I have been on the fermenting journey for about 5 years now.
I fell off the bandwagon for awhile, mostly due to exhaustion of raising two very active, very close in age children. Since the last year, I got on the bandwagon again, and I have really been impacted by your blog and your facebook posts, about how good fermented foods make you feel, and how they make you happy and aid in bettering your life. I totally agree!
I am actively fermenting and eating fermented foods on a regular basis. If I have a meal without a fermented food, I really feel bummed about it. It feels like something is missing. It doesn’t feel like a meal. What’s even better, is that my children know the importance of fermented foods and they love them. It has just always been a part of what we do. What we most love is kefir, kombucha, kvass, and kimchi… all the K’s!
We have at least one of these with every meal, usually 2. It has changed my outlook on life. It really feels like I am more happy and full of more energy when I consume these foods. I have a heart condition and trouble breathing most of the time, so I am nearly always exhausted.
If I stick to 1 or 2 fermented foods per meal, I am almost symptom free. It’s so miraculous. I am known for carrying my own bag of food around with me for myself and my children. I have to have something fermented with us when we go out, either kombucha or kimchi. It’s become a part of me. I can’t leave the house without it. It would feel like forgetting my purse or my keys. We live on fermented foods and not only that, we are thriving on them. I am thankful that my children have never had a major illness.
The most they’ve ever had is a cold, and not often at all. I almost never get sick either, and if I am, it lasts about a day, I eat lots of kimchi, kombucha, and pickles, and sure enough the next day it is gone. I remember growing up, if I ever got a cold or the flu, I could be sick in bed for a week or more easily. Now, these probiotic foods protect and heal me. I love my kefir grains, I love my SCOBYs, and I say thank you to them all the time.
They are like my pets. I love ‘em. My kids do too. Thanks for your blog and for what you are doing to pass the love of fermented foods on to others. You inspire me to pay it forward and share these foods with others.
Blessings to you.
Donna! Thank you so much for educating people on the importance of cultured foods. your story is a real inspiration. I have a short story to tell at this time. i am recently recovering from the effects of chemotherapy for cancer. Anyone who has gone through chemo knows how the digestive system can be ravaged by its effects as chemo kills all fast-growing cells, including those existing throughout the whole length of the digestive system, from mouth to anus!
My stomach was greatly affected and reacted with pain to various foods and any cold foods. My intestinal system was in turmoil with explosive diarrhea and enough gas to power a vehicle! Over the past eight weeks, since my chemo finished, I have been glugging down kombucha and kefir, always at room temperature because of my stomach sensitivity, and piling sauerkraut and cultured pickles into me. Every last drop of the sauerkraut and pickle juices get drunk as well! I have experienced amazing results and my digestive system is almost back to normal.
While I am getting my strength back, my husband is enthusiastically making all these products. Right now I get to supervise! Soon I will be taking over that task and I can hardly wait! Thank you again, Donna. P.S. if I had discovered these amazing cultured foods years ago, my immune system would have been much stronger and possibly I would not even have gotten cancer in the first place.
I have been making water kefir for two months now, and have been making milk kefir for about 3 weeks. I started putting water kefir starter in my chihuahua’s water for about a month and a half. When we adopted this dog, he had been neglected something terrible, he was 8 years old and had heartworms. Poor little man was skinny, smelled bad and most of his teeth were missing or loose in his gums.
We took him to the vet for some help and they put him on medication for the heartworms to keep his lungs from filling with fluid and to keep his blood pressure down. They also gave him an antibiotic for his teeth because he has the heart-worms so bad they couldn’t sedate him to do anything let alone clean his teeth. I never give him dog food because he was fed table scraps for a year and a half before we saved him. poor thing was so weak that he would go out to tinkle and have to lay down before he could come back in. I started giving him red wine extract and he started feeling better, but he still had his issues.
I made his food everyday and hand fed him everything he would eat. (yes he’s my baby and spoiled rotten) When I started making kefir, we had to give it a try! I have found he stopped shedding like before, every day he would shed enough hair to make another dog! He started eating better and his teeth tightened up in his gums. Instead of walking out to take care of his business, he runs out then back in again! We thought a year ago we would help him fill his bucket list, now he is helping to fill ours!
My baby is going through his second puppyhood:D Last night I was watering a plant I had in a pot with kefir whey, my little man started eating the dirt so I put some in a bowl and let him drink it. I could only compare it to watching a kid drinking chocolate milk. He has been wide open and feeling his oats ever since then. I don’t know what it has done for the inside of him, but it has sure added to the quality of his life as well as ours:)
My beautiful daughter Layla has a great story as well. Layla is recovering and healing with kefir and kombucha, she has autism spectrum disorder. When we found out that she had it, I did my research about it and found a book about one theory that said it came from a weak immune system and food allergies.
I treated my weak immune system with water kefir to start with. I had to have surgery for a stag-horn kidney stone that had filled my kidney and came close to shutting it down! In the process of removing the stone, I was given enough antibiotics to kill almost all of the good bacteria in my body. I was so sick from the lack of the good bacteria that I wasn’t able to get up and go to the doctor under my own power!
The doctor had to call in a special ANTIBIOTIC to kill the bad bacteria! Well,if that was not enough, I started to develop allergies like crazy. God had to be with me because I was at my wits end,he had me start looking at the evidence of my illness and found that it stemmed from ANTI-BIOTICS.(makes you wonder don’t it) LOL.
So I found this thing called kefir in my research and decided what can’t kill me might cure me, IT CURED ME!!! When I gave it to Layla with a lot of fruit to sweeten the deal.(most autistic kids crave sugar) she stated telling me how she felt. Did you know that a lot of autistic people have a burning sensation in their skin all the time? I didn’t, because Layla couldn’t tell me. She didn’t have the conception in her mind to be able to tell me. She let me know after the kefir started working!
When this child came up to me with a smile on her face and hugged me out of the blue, I cried tears of joy! She said “Mama, my skin stopped burning” I almost felt a little guilty because you never want your baby to feel bad ever,but then we started to see other changes. We don’t have to fight her to eat anymore,she started eating health food instead of craving the bad stuff.
The doctors had her on enough meds to kill the average elephant,one to give her an appetite,two for the AD/HD symptoms,and two so she could sleep at night like normal folk and last but not least, one for depression. The kid is only 15 years old and could start her own pharmacy!
The night she walked into the den and asked if she still had to take her sleep meds blew me away as well. I had to ask “Why sugar, do you feel like you can sleep on your own?” She had a big beautiful grin on her face and said yes. Of course I had the next question ready and waiting for her, “What do you think has changed baby?” She gave the reply kind of soft” I’m not afraid to go to sleep now” I never knew that she was afraid to go to sleep! I would have been spaying the room with lavender monster spray a long time ago!
How can any good mom not have a can of monster spay for monster emergencies? Another realization in the life of an autistic mind… She later told me that every night,she would lay in bed thinking the house would burn down with all of us asleep. You can’t help but cry thinking of all this worry she had and no way to tell anyone. My dear,we have the grand finale of all grand finales,”Mom,can I stop taking the Prozac?” You know that moment in you life when someone said something that made you almost snap your own neck just to see if it was the person you though it was?( You know I had to ask her why she asked me that…)
I felt so dumb afterwards when she said “I’m not depressed anymore!” Got to say it,God is good,and kefir is the best gift that he could have ever give this family. We are still working on ways to better our chances of recovery,such as an organic diet, and social behavior therapy. (in fact,we have the therapist using it too) You just have to see it to believe it! Zeus said he just might wear his durag for the picture,he’s such a ham…
Friends in kefir,
Donna, Reading your article and I had to share our Christmas holiday. We eat a primarily Paleo diet at our house with me, my wife, and our 3 kids 9.5 yo daughter, 5 yo son and 20 mo daughter. Well everyone in the house except my son drinks kombucha (from your scoby) every day. Together we drink about 2-16oz bottles a day.
Well, the only person that got a cold over the holiday was…you guessed it, my son. He didn’t have much, but a nasty nose and little cough for about 10 days. While we all lived in close quarters with him, NO ONE ever even had a symptom. So we are big believers, and while he sees it and will keep trying it (he is good about that), he is just not a fan.
I need to figure out if it is the carbonation because he likes pickles, fermented carrots, and fermented asparagus, so maybe I just need to keep it flat and give it to him.
Anyway, keep up the great work,